April 3 (UPI) -- In his first public comments since trading away star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien explained the team's decision-making process when speaking to season-ticket holders Friday.
The Texans traded Hopkins, a four-time All-Pro choice, and a 2020 fourth-round draft pick to the Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round selection and a 2021 fourth-rounder last month.
Many NFL fans, experts and personnel from around the league considered it a lopsided trade due to Hopkins' elite production over the past few seasons and the injury history of Johnson. O'Brien defended the trade, citing the wideout's request for a raise.
"I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we felt was in the best interest of our team," O'Brien said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "DeAndre Hopkins was a great football player here. He made so many plays for us. We love DeAndre Hopkins. But he had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. And we weren't going to be able to go in that direction.
"We felt like we had a great offer from Arizona that involved picks. That involved an excellent three-down running back who is hungry and humble and just can't wait to get started. David Johnson is going to be a great addition to our football team."
Hopkins had three years and about $40 million remaining on his contract with the Texans, according to Spotrac.
The Texans selected Hopkins in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Clemson. Since entering the league, he has sat out only two games and recorded 632 receptions for 8,602 yards and 54 touchdowns.